"Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure." Psalm 147:5 We worship an eternal God who is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. No human has these attributes...not even the pastor's wife. So, what am I to do when church members think that I know everything about and see all that is happening in the church? My solution is to exhibit Christlike behavior to other people, but I don't try to be God.
Be patient with questions. When we had a smaller church and no church secretary, I fielded all kinds of church-related phone calls that came into our house. Who is in charge of food for Presbytery? What is Mrs. Smith's phone number? When is the Christmas eve service? Why did the elders not cancel the worship service when they knew a big storm was coming? Could you tell someone in the nursery that I won't be there for my duty tomorrow?
I was especially annoyed if the calls came as I was rushing out the door. I am sure I sometimes showed it in my tone of voice. Now that our church has an administrative assistant, those calls are a distant memory, which might make it easier to justify my past anger.
But, I must realize that I wasn't seeing the questions as a reflection of the people's desire to be part of the church's ministry. I should have encouraged their interest, remembered how long-suffering God is toward me and imitated Him with more patience toward others. "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9
Be loving in spite of circumstances. I know that my husband has a full pastoral counseling schedule, and I can surmise that he hears plenty about certain people's besetting sins and other shocking circumstances. I don't know all the names or much of the details, which is good because I couldn't bear the emotional weight.
However, some members may think that I know all their secrets. This is further complicated when they assume that I don't struggle with sin. This could make them awkward or embarrassed around me.
My approach to this situation is to show love in equal amounts to all God's people in the church. Even if I know that the sister sitting next to me in church meets with my husband for counseling, I don't want her to feel that I love her less because she is seeking help for dealing with their problems. And, as much as possible, I want to convey that I am not privy to every thing that my husband is aware of. In addition, I pray that I don't have a self-righteous attitude when I am conversing with a fellow believer. I need to recognize that I am a sinner, saved by grace, just like my sister in Christ. "You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord." Leviticus 19:18
I can't possibly know everything there is to know. And, I don't want to perpetuate the myth that I do. With God's help, I can be patient and loving to church members with their questions and their weaknesses. Thus, I can point them to the eternal one who, unlike me, is all powerful, all knowing and everywhere at the same time. He is the Lord.
Other Ministry Myths:
Your Children Will Reject the Church
You Can't Have Close Friends in Your Church
Your Husband is Married to Your Church
You Must Have Musical Talent or Teaching Gifts